The new Labour government is reportedly considering appealing rejected plans to build a 72,000 sqm data centre on Greenbelt near the M25.

Buckinghamshire Council refused plans for a new data centre at the Woodlands Park landfill site in Iver just last month, describing it as “inappropriate development on the Greenbelt” which would harm the “character and appearance of the area” and “habitats of protected species”.

The refusal came after the proposed site – which includes offices, fuel storage facilities and a security perimeter fence – was reduced to half of its original size in an effort from developers to quell oppositional voices.

It may not be the end of the line for the new technology base, however – in her first speech as chancellor on Monday, Rachel Reeves said Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner had “recovered two planning appeals for data centres in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire (already)”.

This means that an appeal from developers against Bucks Council’s rejection of the plans will go straight to Ms Rayner in her new role as Housing Secretary, rather than being decided by the Planning Inspectorate.

A bid for an even larger data centre at the same site – south of Slough Road between junction 16 of the M40 and junction 15 of the M4 – was dismissed by then-Secretary of State Michael Gove in October 2023.

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What will come as welcome news to the UK arm of Altrad, a construction giant run by French billionaire Mohamed Altrad, and investment company Greystoke Land, who jointly submitted the application, has been less readily accepted by Beaconsfield MP Joy Morrissey, who wrote a letter of objection to the project last year.

A design statement for the data centre lays out plans for new jobs in the construction sector as well as “indirect employment in the supply chain” and a “landscape-led design with living green walls” – but its situation on protected Greenbelt land is the main point of principle for Ms Morrissey.

She said she highlighted Labour’s intention to “reverse the Conservative government’s decision to refuse the building of a data centre on Greenbelt in the Ivers” during her election campaign – describing it as an “expected but extraordinary attack on the Greenbelt in South Bucks”.

The newly re-elected Tory MP added: “In the election, I warned that Labour was coming for our South Bucks Greenbelt. Labour said I was scaremongering. The Liberal Democrats were silent. Just three days after the election, my warning has been proved right.

“This decision threatens our community and our environment. I will fight them every inch of the way – the battle to save our Greenbelt starts today.”